As many of you know, my family and I had planned to go to Colorado for vacation recently. However, due to illness, it was canceled. I was reminiscing of the first time I got to go to Colorado and experience the mountainous terrain. It was overwhelming! The beauty of the huge mountains, to ride along the bike paths taking in the creation of God. It took a while to get there as we drove the 1,077 miles to Breckenridge, Colorado. There were a lot of places on the way that I didn’t care to go through. A lot of desolate area where you certainly do not want to break down. Those areas reminded me of how many times we just want the good experiences, but how can we truly appreciate the beautiful and good things if we don’t experience the bad and not-so-pleasant areas of life. I want us to consider our journey today. We need to think on HOW we are getting where we are going. For such truly does matter! If we looked close enough and hard enough, we could find meaning in the valleys, and yes, even the desolate looking places.
In Exodus 3, you will find Moses who had an amazing experience, an encounter with God on a mountaintop (cf. Exodus 3:1-6). Now I want us to remember that Moses had been through quite a bit in his life up to this point. In Exodus 2, Moses was born and after three months of attempting to hide him (due to Pharaoh’s command that every son born should be cast in the river Ex. 1:22), so Moses’ mother took an ark of bulrushes for him and laid it in the reeds by the riverbank (2:1-3). We know that Pharaoh’s daughter would end up taking Moses in and would grow up there in the palace as royalty. Stephen in Acts 7 spoke about Moses and how Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. (7:22). Stephen continues to say in verse 23 that when Moses was 40 years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel – (24-29). After another 40 years had passed, we find Moses in Exodus 3 standing before the burning bush in the wilderness of Mount Horeb which means “desolate place.” Moses had been through some ups & downs. Moses was born as a slave, raised as a prince to walk the palace halls, dining with royalty, took a stand for his brethren, killed an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating one of his fellow brethren, rejected by his own brethren, where he then fled fearing Pharaoh would kill him, found contentment to live with a priest of Midian named Reuel. There Moses met one of the daughters of Reuel by the name of Zipporah and they had a child. It could be that Moses felt comfortable there on Horeb (desolate place), because it was an apt description of his life. Moses spent the first 40 years of his life living what seemed to be a promising life… then after striking the Egyptian taskmaster supposing his own brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand (Acts 7:25). Now he was spending his second 40 years in this desolate place tending to what he needed to tend to. Of course, he had a wife and children, tending to sheep as a shepherd, but was that ALL he was supposed to be doing? Was there something more?! In chapter 3 though, Moses was carrying on with his day-to-day routine as a shepherd, however his day changed dramatically. Not only that day, but the rest of his days would be life-altering! Really our life is like that. We have our everyday routines, we have a few things going for us here and there, but how much of our life do we look upon whether past and/or present that are riddled with desolate places? Day in and day out, going about tending to the things we need to tend to, try to kick our feet up and relax whenever we can catch a moment then repeat upon waking with another day. We have a few things going for us here and there, but the question is, is there something more?!
Well, Moses’ day to day routine was divinely interrupted. Let me point out that Horeb is not only known as a desolate place, but it is also called “the mountain of God.” Moses would have never expected to have an encounter with God there on Horeb. The encounter occurred through a burning bush. Often, we get awe-stricken that God was speaking from a burning bush. Which I will say is quite astonishing. However, I believe the focus should be NOT through the means in which God was speaking, but the fact that GOD WAS SPEAKING! Moses recognizes that the voice is that of God’s. People today are looking for their own personal burning bush. Look no further, it’s called the Bible (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16,17). In John 10, Jesus said that He was the Good Shepherd and that His sheep hear His voice. We have to hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6), we have to desire the sincere milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2), we have to study (2 Timothy 2:15). God is still God, and He is still speaking today no matter where we are in our individual journey of life. So, the question is, are we listening and are we obeying?
All of this time waiting God was NOT ignoring what was going on or putting Moses off. Rather it was in God’s timing. Moses attempted to rescue his fellow brethren by his own hand, but that didn’t go so well. Now the timing was right for Moses to lead as God called him to do according to God’s plan. Whether we realize it or not, there’s a plan for our lives just like there was for Moses. I need to know where God wants me to be traveling, the meaning and significance of my location right now, what I need to be doing. Instead, we many times find ourselves too busy to have an encounter with God. We do this because we have excuses like Moses did, or our life is the excuse. We’re just too busy at this point in our lives right now. This mountain was just a desolate place, but this mountain would be referred to “the mountain of God” due to the encounter that happened that day. There would be MANY experiences on that very mountain. God took something that was only known for its desolate places, the mundane and made it into a holy place due to His presence! God desires for us to take that desolate place of our lives and make it into a mountaintop experience of God! The very ground that Moses was standing was Holy Ground. It was set apart by the divine presence of the almighty God. Would such be an apt description of our hearts today? Is the Lord present in our lives, hearts made clean by the blood of Christ? When we encounter God through His word, does it move us? Do we see more in our lives than just what was, and looking as to what it can be? A life that is set apart for Him and His purpose (cf. Romans 12:1,2).
In Exodus 3:7-10, God says that the Israelites will be delivered. Moses is told that he is the one that is chosen to lead the people out of Egyptian captivity. It has always been interesting to me that those who God chose were not seemingly qualified for the task given to them to complete. I think that as I have seen through example after example of great Biblical characters, leaders as to why God chose them. He chose them to take on the task at hand because He wanted to be sure that those who do help lead will only depend upon Him and not their own wisdom! We don’t always see ourselves as being the right instrument/vessel for such a service to God, but the challenge is for us to listen to God’s Voice! A woman by the name of Gladys Aylward who was a missionary to China in the 1930’s. In 1938, the region she lived was invaded by Japanese forces and Aylward led more than 100 orphans to safety over the mountains, despite being wounded herself. During Gladys’s harrowing journey she grappled with despair as never before. After passing a sleepless night, she faced the morning with no hope of reaching safety. A 13-year-old girl in the group reminded her of their much-loved story of Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. “But I am not Moses,” Gladys cried in desperation. “Of course you aren’t,” the girl said, “but God is still God!” That little girl’s insight stands true today! Not everyone is a MOSES, but God is still the same God who created ALL THINGS… the same God who promised Abraham and Sarah a child, a nation, and a land of promise. The same God who turned a desolate place of the mundane life, to a momentous purpose in the life of Moses. God came to Moses as He did to Abraham with a mission, and it would be God through those individuals who worked according to God’s Holy plan and purpose to accomplish amazing things. God is still God today and it is the Lord’s desire even today for his people to press forward, onward and upward! To be His people (cf. 1 Peter 2:9,10). To be delivered from our sins (cf. Romans 6:17,18). To help others find deliverance from their sins (cf. Mark 16:15,16). To go to that land of promise (cf. John 14:1-6).
Although Moses had several excuses, he was told to GO! Moses would move forward into a deeper relationship with God on his journey. What about us? Are we moving forward into a deeper relationship with God? Do we have a GREATER inclination to submit to His will to serve Him and others? Or are the excuses still pouring out… and yet God is still saying “GO”. We need to acknowledge and realize that the spiritual journey we are on is of upmost importance and that it is necessary for it be God-centered all the time! There is something that we can ALL do in helping others move onward, forward and upward toward the Lord in fulfilling His purpose! Have you had that mountaintop experience that Moses had? When I say that, I mean have you heard the word of God, allowing God to turn your desolate place into a mountaintop experience of God, accepting your purpose in this life, to be changed forever by applying the word to your heart, believing that Jesus is the son of the living God, repenting of your sins, confessing Jesus, being baptized for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38)? As disciples of Christ, are we still listening to the voice of God? Are we becoming what He wants us to be today?! Are we reaching out and helping others grow with you on this spiritual journey! If I can assist you in your journey, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 🙂